Sunday, February 20, 2011

Portland International Film Festival preview day 14 pt.1: EVEN THE RAIN

This weekend is the busiest of the fest with additional venues (Hollywood Theatre, Cinema 21 & Cinemagic) joining the PIFF army.  Between working at the fest & my regular job, it's 3 full days of doubles for me.  So here's a quick 1/2 day posting on the first of the two films screened at last Thursday's press screenings.

A Spanish film crew arrives in Bolivia to begin a production about the exploitation of the natives by Christopher Columbus.  At the same time, the indigenous people who are being cast in the film are in deep conflict with the Bolivian government over water rights, which are controlled by interests from abroad.

Icíar Bollaín's well-intentioned film pushes this parallel between historical and modern forms of colonialism well past the breaking point, reminding us at every turn how little things have changed.  It's a frightfully valid observation but the repetition of this single point lessens the overall impact of the film, especially when it feels like the recurring reminders are meant to compensate for the stragglers in the audience who may have not caught on the first five or so times that the comparison is made.

Oh...and it's also difficult to figure out who our protagonist is until more than halfway through the film.  Which would be fine in a more experimentally (or even playfully) written piece but this is one exceptionally conventional narrative film.

Even the Rain  plays at the Whitsell Auditorium on Feb. 24th at 9:15pm.  An additional screening is scheduled at the Broadway Theater on Feb. 26th at 8pm.
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